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Governor of North Dakota
Standard of the Governor of North Dakota.svg
Flag of the Governor
Doug Burgum.jpg
Doug Burgum

since December 15, 2016
Residence North Dakota Governor's Residence
Term length 4 years, no term limit
Inaugural holder John Miller
Formation November 20, 1889
Deputy Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford
Salary $116,999 (2013)

The Governor of North Dakota is the head of the executive branch of North Dakota's state government and serves as the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces.

The Constitution of the State of North Dakota specifies that "the executive power is vested in the governor" in Section 1. Section 7 indicates that "the governor is the chief executive of the state. The governor shall have the responsibility to see that the state's business is well administered and that its laws are faithfully executed."


According to Article 4 of the Constitution, to be eligible to hold an elective office as governor, a person must be a qualified elector North Dakota, must be at least twenty-five years of age on the day of the election, and must have been a resident of the state for the five years preceding election to office.

Dates of Party Conventions and Gubernatorial Nominations

The dates that political parties meet to nominate official candidates for state offices varies by party.

Here is an overview of this 2016 general election cycle:

On April 1, 2016, the Democratic party nominated its candidate, Marvin Nelson. He joined Joan Heckaman, the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor as the combined Democratic choice, seeking to become the two highest elected officials for the state's executive branch for voters to choose in the general election in November 2016.

The Republican nominee for governor, Doug Burgum, was announced at the Republican Party's state convention on June 14, 2016. Burgum joined Brent Sanford, the lieutenant gubernatorial candidate, together becoming the combined Republican choice in the 2016 general election. Burgum and Sanford are seeking the two top elected official positions in the executive branch.

The Libertarian candidate seeking election as North Dakota's governor in 2016 is Marty Riske. The lieutenant governor candidate for the Libertarian party is Joshua Voytek. Together, Riske and Voytek will present a unified, single option for the top two slots in the executive branch for the state in November's general election. The North Dakota Libertarian Party convention was held November 7, 2015, when the party nominated Riske and Voytek for the 2016 race.

Dates of General Elections

The dates of the general election for the office of governor are set by the North Dakota legislative assembly. Traditionally, the general election date coincides with the U.S. Presidential election which is the first Tuesday of November in even years, every four years (except when the first Tuesday falls on November 1; in that case, the general election is held on November 8).

The next gubernatorial election in North Dakota is slated for November 3, 2020.

Additional Gubernatorial Rights, Responsibilities and Positions

In addition to his role leading the executive branch offices, the Governor has the right to sign or veto laws and to call the Legislative Assembly into emergency session.

The Governor is also, by statute, chairman of the North Dakota Industrial Commission.

Length and Dates of Term

A Governor is elected by statewide popular vote to a four-year term.

North Dakota law specifies that a regular term of an elected governor shall commence on December 15 following the November election in an even year, for a term of precisely four years, ending on December 15 four years after his or her inauguration.

Date of Inauguration, Exceptions and Inaugural Celebrations

The standard date of inauguration to the office of Governor of North Dakota is December 15 following the even-year general election.

Thus, the next inauguration of the governor who will be elected in November 2020's general election is scheduled be held on December 15, 2020.

Other dates for the regularly scheduled inaugurations were mandated at various times, primarily dates in late December following the general election and several in January of the year following the general election.

There have been cases where the Governor of North Dakota was inaugurated on other dates, due to the vacancy of the office of governor. These have included the resignation of the governor, the death in office of a governor, and in one instance, the judicial removal because of a felony conviction of a governor (William Langer; his conviction was later overturned and he was elected to another term).

Inaugural balls and related celebrations have been most often been celebrated on the dates of gubernatorial inaugurations.

Although the current governor, Doug Burgum, was inaugurated on December 15, 2016, the formal inaugural celebration will be held in January 2017. The decision to conduct the celebration at a later date was made to avoid interference with the busy holiday schedules of many celebrants in December.

No Term Limits on Governor

There is no limit to the number of terms a Governor may serve, if elected.

Non-Sequential Terms

It is possible for a governor to serve non-sequential terms.

Official Residence

The official residence of the Governor is the North Dakota Governor's Residence in Bismarck.

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